SIUH Unveils New Pediatric Unit


Children's wing takes flight at Staten Island University Hospital

Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 6:02 AM     Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 6:05 AM
Kiawana Rich
Staten island Advance/Bill Lyons
Joseph Manfredi, 9, and his 13-year-old sister, Amanda, cut the ribbon to the newly renovated children's center at Staten Island University Hospital as their father, Keith Manfredi, left, and Dr. Philip Roth, chairman of the department of pediatrics, hold the ribbon. Looking on are Ferreri, Louis Maffeo, father of Joseph Maffeo, and Linda Manfredi, sister of Joseph Maffeo and a co-founder of the Joseph Maffeo Foundation.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The wraps came off the new pediatric unit at Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze, yesterday, and the only shame is that illness is the price of admission.

There are bright, beautiful rooms in lively colors; a large playroom with a gigantic model fire truck; TVs and video games aplenty, and even large nightlights in the shape of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge above each bed.

Hospital officials, the Joseph Maffeo Foundation and numerous other contributors and supporters came out for the ribbon-cutting that capped the $800,000 renovation. Among the gifts was $250,000 from Kids Against Cancer.

Still, said Anthony Ferreri, University Hospital's president and CEO, it was "a lot of little checks that made this happen."

"This is the culmination of the efforts of so many people," he said. "My heartfelt thanks to all of you for everything you've done for the kids of Staten Island."

Dr. Philip Roth, director of neonatalogy and chairman of the department of pediatrics, said that the rooms' amenities, coupled with the hospital's hardworking staff, "will allow us to practice the family-centered, child-friendly care that we've always provided, but now with a setting that is consistent with those objectives."

On hand, were members of the Maffeo and Manfredi families, including a teary-eyed Linda Manfredi and her husband, Keith; the couple heads the Joseph Maffeo Foundation.

"Everyone in this room today are heroes like my brother," said Mrs. Manfredi, whose brother, Firefighter Joseph Maffeo, died in the terror attacks on 9/11. "He always had the courage to stand up for what was right and make a difference."

Outside each room hangs a portrait of a hero in the fields of science, history, literature and more. The heroes were selected by Island elementary school children and the rooms were dedicated to the memory of a loved one lost or to a contributing organization. Those organizations were also honored yesterday.

"As long as God gives me the strength, every year there will be a substantial check donated to this hospital," said Joseph DiMartino, whose wife, Debra Ann DiMartino, died in the Sept. 11 attacks. He decorates his house for Christmas each year and gives the proceeds to University Hospital.

Rooms were also dedicated by or to: Joseph Maffeo, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Vitarelli, David Villamarin, Frank J. Reali III, Nicholas Johs, Grandmaster Jhong Uhk Kim and family, Jeff Hague, Friends of the Maya Chang Foundation, Vincent Gruppuso, Maria Lilla Stanzione, Richard Frisbee Jr. (by Bella Magazine), and Kids Against Cancer.

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